It is rarely that you can find an album that is picturesque, yet gut wrenchingly disgusting. The sort of album that goes from a stomach turning intro which peers into the tortured minds of madmen, to a beautiful piece that evokes images of a mournful trudge through the heart of a snowstorm. I would wager that only one genre could successfully create such an effort, and that is ambient black metal.
Lord Aakon Keetreh, with an experience gained from time in black metal legends like Belketre and Torgeist, is eminently suited to creating such a sound. His skillful weaving of misanthropy and despair into a musical thread is something to be appreciated, even if this music is an anathema to your tastes.
On this EP, traditional black metal tracks like Apogee of Despair and Journey
vie with the slower, acoustic tracks like Until The Twilight
(which features a brilliant pairing of piano and guitar, overlaid with haunting screams), and Och Venod
. Interlayed with lamentations, screams of anguish, and the oppressive atmosphere of a funeral dirge, the tracks are musically complete, despite the lack of drums (a tradition amongst the Les Legions Noire).
is somewhat disappointing, and it highlights the main problem with the album. Despite the short length of the songs (the entire EP is 11:42 long), the continual repetition of some of the slower riffs can ruin the atmosphere and grow tiresome in short amount of time. Although the drone is necessary in some songs, such as Journey
, the most well executed tracks are those in which Aakon introduced both acoustic guitar and piano. These not only impart his message upon the listener, but retain the listener's attention. Och Venod
is a shining example, and hence it is my favourite from this EP.
Both the intro Suffering
and the outro Apogee of Despair
are under a minute, and musically simple songs. The content of Suffering
will test your ability to hold down breakfast, as it creates the sound of its title effortlessly. By comparison, Apogee of Despair
is a single riff black metal track played well, and also is where Aakon makes best use of his distinct vocal stylings, with muted screams adding to the atmosphere.
Ultimately, though this album will leave you in awe of Lord Aakon's talent, it is the somewhat dismal approach to some songs that will leave a slightly sour taste in your mouth. But having said that, I am always genuinely annoyed that the album ends so quickly, and as such, I do think it is one of the finer ambient releases of the LLN.